Case Study

Verto helps the Innovation Agency deliver innovation programmes across the health economy

Using Verto Software
Innovation Agency Academic Health Science Network for the North West Coast Logo

The Innovation Agency is the Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) for the North West Coast.  It is a catalyst for the spread of innovation across the health and social care economies, helping facilitate change to improve health, drive down the cost of care and stimulate economic growth.

22

NHS providers

20+

Clinical Commissioning Groups

9

Universities

The Challenge for the Innovation Agency

The Innovation Agency needed a tool to help underpin a significant and rapid expansion, from 15 to 64 people in 18 months.  This required a more systemic approach and greater structure and governance to managing their projects and programmes.

They wanted to promote integration between their teams and move away from working across numerous spreadsheets and on shared drives which were not always suitable to the tasks required of them.

The teams also had to organise and report on the vast amount of information held on complex spreadsheets which were bulky and difficult to analyse.  Reporting was also a challenge.

Innovation Agency Chaos

With the rapid growth in staff numbers, the Innovation Agency knew that they needed a tool that would:

  • Be simple to learn, use and understand
  • Break the ‘cultural spell’ of spreadsheets
  • Enable the project delivery teams to work to a consistent process and collaborate effectively
  • Be able to easily and accurately monitor and report on project performance and outcomes
  • Put all their project information in one place without the need for version control and sharing large files
  • Be configurable to their working practice and governance

The PMO wanted to embrace ‘matrix working’ with real emphasis on collaboration.  They knew that this meant configuring a system that could be used by a wide variety of users with differing levels of project management maturity. They identified that they needed a system that could cope with the full spectrum of simple to complex project management elements and hybrid methodologies.

Our Solution

The Innovation Agency chose to roll out Verto as it was widely in use across the AHSN Network, especially the South West AHSN who were engaged in using the platform to support decision-making.

Kerrin Whaite, Innovation Agency Project Manager and Assurance Officer, is responsible for assurance and monitoring of projects and programmes for the spread and adoption of innovation, including planning and delivery of various initiatives and supporting communities of practice across the wide network of partners.

Innovation Agency Academic Health Science Network for the North West Coast Logo

“We chose Verto as we were particularly impressed with the flexibility of the system which allowed us to really build it the way we wanted it – it wasn’t a rigid system where you’re just stuck with the way it is. The ability to choose to show or hide functions is great as it means we can start simply and yet we know all the functionality is there as our project management capabilities grow”.

Kerrin Whaite, Innovation Agency Project Manager and Assurance Officer

The Innovation Agency decided to configure their system around their six business goals as this gave them a cross-team view of their programme activity and performance:

  • Goal 1: Support system transformation through the adoption of innovations that enhance quality and value.
  • Goal 2: Deliver an Innovation Exchange to accelerate innovation into practice and drive economic growth.
  • Goal 3: Develop and connect the digital health and care sector
  • Goal 4: Deliver the NHS Improvement Patient Safety Collaborative programme
  • Goal 5: Collaborate with the National AHSN Network
  • Goal 6: Support a culture for innovation

Twenty-five programmes were spread across these six business goals with between 70-80 projects and a mix of local and national programmes.

The benefits

Across the business Verto is being used to manage a varied set of projects for the AHSN Network’s national programmes, including PReCePT, ESCAPE-Pain, the Innovation Technology Payment (ITP) and the Innovation Technology Tariff (ITT), and the Innovation Agency’s local projects, including Connected Health Cities, Population Health and more, which cover the North West Coast footprint.

“Verto has been great in supporting the growth of our business. With lots of new team members and partners, Verto means we can very quickly and easily bring our stakeholders on board across the full range of projects they will be involved with.”

The system has provided a structured approach to creating a project from business case to tasks and milestones, risks and issues, costs and benefits – incorporating all the critical elements to support effective project delivery within a defined methodology.  This in turn feeds the business’ quarterly highlight report which provides a clear picture of programmes and performance across business goals.

Kerrin says: “We have built it so that it follows a simple flow that is intuitive and makes sense across the organisation and enables it to be used by team members who are not professional project managers.  The system is so simple to use and gives us visibility across the business – it’s easy to get a very clear picture of all our project information in one place.”

Verto has helped reduce duplication.  Previously, stakeholders were doubling up on tasks through simple lack of communication and knowledge – now they have a bird’s eye view of all of the activity on projects and can allocate resources much more effectively.

The Innovation Agency has established a Business Operations Group to provide a project governance framework, evaluate proposed business cases and monitor project scope.    They have developed a process to use tasks and milestone data to record and collect data required for the Local Implementation Plan report, which is used to measure quarterly performance of national innovation programmes, saving time and duplication of effort and resources across the organisation.

The information and framework for this report has also been used to configure their quarterly highlight reports which are used in discussions with their partners to track interactions, working in harmony with their CRM system to create a full picture of collaborative projects.

Using Verto Easily

Kerrin says: “It’s been great to see our teams really using the system, really understanding its value – and that in turn is making their lives easier in the practical benefits of easier, faster reporting and an appreciation of what is happening across the business.”

Running a programme management office requires constant review of project management maturity and capabilities.  The Innovation Agency is planning a series of audits to enable them to see which elements of the powerful Verto functionality the organisation is ready to use next through the support of their own coaching academy and moddle software to enable their people and the system to develop together within a supported environment.

The information and framework for this report has also been used to configure their quarterly highlight reports which are used in discussions with their partners to track interactions, working in harmony with their CRM system to create a full picture of collaborative projects.

Kerrin says: “Our experience of the Verto client support team has been an example of excellent service. They have been fantastic, lightning fast responses to any queries we’ve raised and refreshingly proactive – we don’t have to chase – they’re on it!   I wish all of our business systems were supported like that.”

The Innovation agency are now one of eight AHSNs using Verto.  They have created their own Network Group and are exploring how the system will enable them to collaborate across projects, for example through the Verto Grid which is an innovative platform for clients to share and collaborate on projects with a centralised reporting framework.

“With Verto as a common system, we’re looking to give people the confidence – and the confidence of security – to break down barriers, collaborate and share information.”

Into the future

As the health sector continues to face growing challenges, the Innovation Agency will be at the forefront of the search and identification of new innovations and technologies with Verto at the heart of a maturing programme management approach.

Verto will also enable the Innovation Agency to undertake a rolling viability review of proposed future project business cases, supporting system transformation through the adoption of innovations that enhance quality and value.

The Innovation Agency will continue to embrace the culture change of migrating to the Verto programme management system and developing the value it brings.

With the lateral thinking that goes with working in a forward-looking environment, Kerrin was quick to observe: “Going forward it will be great to use Verto to showcase projects and innovations at the industry events and expos the Innovation Agency attends to show evidence of our programme and project outcomes and benefits. We hope that the evidence will be very persuasive to other organisations to adopt some of the initiatives and innovations that we have developed.  The smart use of Verto to collect powerful evidential data will be a great marketing tool for us.”

The Innovation Agency will continue to embrace the culture change of migrating to the Verto programme management system and developing the value it brings.

Innovation Agency Solution

To find out more about how Verto can help your organisation contact info@vertocloud.com or call us on 0118 334 6200